Brain mechanisms of normal and impaired consciousness
Consciousness is central to human life, allowing people to experience and respond to the world. Our laboratory investigates brain mechanisms of normal consciousness and when consciousness is impaired by epileptic seizures. We use powerful brain imaging techniques, electrical measurements and testing of behavior. By understanding the mechanisms of consciousness, we hope to restore normal consciousness to patients with epilepsy and other brain disorders. Our work investigates brain networks including the cerebral cortex interacting with deeper structures such as the thalamus and brainstem. We use single cell and larger-scale electrical recordings, multi-modal neuroimaging with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neurotransmitter measurements and other techniques. Our goal is to rapidly translate findings from the research lab to practical applications—greatly improving quality of life.
Hal Blumenfeld received his bachelor's degree from Harvard, MD and PhD from Columbia, neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and then came to Yale for his clinical fellowship in epilepsy and postdoc in neuroscience. Since joining the faculty of the neurology, neuroscience and neurosurgery departments he is now Mark Loughride and Michele Williams Professor and director of the interdisciplinary Clinical Neuroscience Imaging Center (CNIC). He spends the Jewish High Holidays every year with his family in his other job as cantor of the Jewish Community of Barbados.